Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is crucial for stimulating social and economic progress in rural India. Electricity is not only used for lighting and household purposes, but it also allows productive uses of energy in the form of running flour mills, oil expellers, mechanization of many farming operations and storage of agricultural produce. As per the International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2015 report, India has more than 200 million people that have no access to electricity. The Government has delivered significant progress on rural electrification in the recent past through grid extension, however a large number of households in rural areas still have no access to electricity. Decentralized RE solutions are being deployed to address the last mile access challenge in rural areas in many parts of the country. With reducing costs and increasing efficiencies of RE technologies, RE based solutions are being perceived as a durable solution – able to cater to household and commercial loads, connect with grid and feed surplus power, if needed.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization projects that by 2050 global food production will need to increase 70 percent over 2005–2007 levels to meet the demand of a growing world population expected to reach 9.6 billion people. For food production to keep pace and feed the world, there will need to be an increase in agricultural production resulting in an increased demand for energy. Already the agri-food supply chain accounts for 30% of the world’s energy consumption as reported by the International Renewable Energy Agency. Based on existing literature, only 46 percent of the cultivable land is irrigated in India. There are around 19 million agricultural electric pumps and around 9 million diesel pumps currently being used for irrigation in India. Promotion of clean energy for and from agriculture is one of the way forwards to address the increasing demand for energy in the agriculture sector. IGEN-Access aims to create an enabling market ecosystem for increased adoption of solar water pumps for irrigation through facilitating demand creation for the technology, improving the supply chain through innovative service delivery models; capacity building of stakeholders within the supply chain and also by creating enabling market ecosystem. The team is also exploring opportunities for integration of clean technologies to address post production food loss within the dairy sector in India.
WHO estimates that over 4 million people die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels. As per National Sample Survey Office’s 68th round, more than two-third (around 160 million households) of rural Indian households are dependent on solid biomass for cooking. In order to overcome the gap in clean cooking energy access for poor, Government of India has launched the Ujjwala scheme. Under this, 50 million BPL (below poverty line) households will be provided LPG connections by 2018-19. In addition to LPG, government is also supporting other clean cooking energy technologies like biogas, biomass cookstoves, solar cooking through schemes and programmes run by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Public and private institutions play a significant role in the development process. Involvement of operative, responsible and inclusive institutions are essential to achieve a long lasting and sustainable development. Hence, IGEN-Access focuses on strengthening of institutional and human resource capacities. Government engagement focuses on the priority states of IGEN Access. Private sector engagement has developed institutions CLEAN Network, VASFA farmers producing company etc.
At least 70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas in developing countries. Their livelihoods usually depend either directly or indirectly on agriculture, with women providing more than 40% of the workforce in agriculture and livestock breeding on average. Women are primarily responsible for meeting the basic needs of their families and playing a key role in the subsequent processing and sale of agricultural products. Due to further ‘feminisation’ in agriculture, women’s contribution to food security and rural households’ survival will increase further in the future. IGEN-Access is committed to promote women and gender parity in achieving project objectives especially, in the energy access space. IGEN-Access has furthermore established gender indicators for all the projects in its portfolio. These will ensure that gender mainstreaming is effectively embedded in the project planning, execution and monitoring of ongoing and future activities.